Thursday, October 7, 2010

Campaign Finance Rundown

Posted on Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Recent campaign finance disclosures from a number of candidates running for office in Humboldt County show that the county races are heating up fast, with many candidates breaking the $100,000 barrier, and in Eureka candidates who voluntarily capped their contributions at $500 ended up being the ones bringing in the most cash.

There is much riding in this election for Eureka and the Board of Supervisors, which is evident in the amount of money special interests and supporters are flooding into the races. For one, whomever sits on the Board of Supes over the next four years will likely be finally updating the road map of Humboldt County development -- the General Plan -- in that time, ending a 12-year long standoff that has fractured this community, perhaps. And for Eureka, with a city on the verge of insolvency, with most of its administrative echelon fleeing for greener pastures and with the prospect of two massive developments further challenging already strained infrastructure, the next council must figure out how to cauterize a budget bleeding to death without paralyzing services.

The following is but a taste of the money game so far. Look for a more in-depth story in next week's Journal.


Ward One

Incumbent Larry Glass raised only a quarter of what his opponent and political newcomer Marian Brady raised this cycle. He raised a total of $5,169 in cash and spent $1,499. Of the 14 contributions of $100 or more, only one was $500 or more. His largest contributors are the Eureka Firefighters PAC ($500), Donna Brown, a Eureka Real Estate Broker ($475), and Thomas Preble, Retired of Eureka ($450).

Newcomer Marian Brady raised the most amount of cash of all Eureka candidates, despite a self-imposed contribution cap of $500. She raised a total of $19,440, all of which she is sitting on for the moment. She did not spend a dime spent $14,990 this cycle. Of the 43 contributions of $100 or more, more than half were $500. In fact, it would take a long sentence to document each of the 23 donors who gave $500, but it includes Kramer Investment Corporation, TJS Leasing and Holding, the McBeth Family and Harvey Harper Company.

Ward Three

Ron Kuhnel also raised about a quarter of what his opponent, Michael Newman, made. He raised a total of $4,384, took out a loan for $1,685, and spent $4,928. Of the 17 contributions of $100 or more, only one was $500 or more. His largest donors are the Eureka Firefighters PAC ($500), Thomas Preble ($350), and Betty Kuhnel ($250).

Michael Newman, a political newcomer, made impressive gains this period despite a voluntary $500 contribution cap, raking in $16,497. He spent $7,792 of that cash. Of the 42 contributions he received of $100 or more, more than half (26) were $500. As with Brady, he shared a large number of similar large donors.

Xandra Manns was not required to file a disclosure form.


The cash in Eureka clearly favored the Marina Center candidates this time around. Peter LaVallee, a Marina Center moderate, took in mostly $100 contributions, raised a total of $5,132.91, took out a $500 loan, and spent $3,122.81. Of the 27 contributions he received of $100 or more, not one was $500 or more. His largest donors are Thomas Preble ($325) and four donors at $250: Marion Amber, Robert Fasic, James Tenney, and Roy Greshaber.

Frank Jager, a strong Marina Center supporter, clearly dominated the finance game this period, but unlike the other two candidates pledging to cap contributions at $500, he twice took contributions of $1,000. He raised a total of $16,616, took out a $480 loan, and spent $9,229. Of the 41 contributions of $100 or more, he got 21 that were $500 or more. His largest donors are Amy's Delight and Jackie and John McBeth of O&M Industries (both $1,000).

Marshall Spalding was not required to turn in a disclosure form.


Fourth District Supervisorial

Incumbent Bonnie Neely continues to lag behind her competitor in funding, but not by much. Much the criticism levied toward Neely by her opponent, Virginia Bass, involves the amount of cash she raised outside of the county. Only four of the 91 documented contributions came from outside Humboldt, three of which are elected officials she works with. She has raised a total of $139,289 -- $55,145 this cycle -- and spent a total of $112,546. She received an $8,000 contribution from Bill Pierson, making her largest donors overall Blue Lake Rancheria ($20,000), Bill Pierson again (this time through Sedgefield Properties for $18,000), and Dana Point-based MPDSE, Inc. ($10,000).

Virginia Bass continues to be the leader in terms of money raised throughout this election and has also taken the award for biggest spender, having raised $157,719 in cash -- $43,052 this round alone. Unlike Neely, who took several contributions exceeding $5,000, Bass received a large amount of contributions in the $2,000 to $3,000 range, mainly from Eureka-based businesses. To date she has spent $144,774 -- $44,633 this round. Her largest donors are the Humboldt County Deputy Sherrif's Organization PAC ($4,000), and Russ Cattle Co., Eureka Readymix, and Harvey Harper Co. for $3,000.

Fifth District Supervisorial

Ryan Sundberg continues to dominate in the fundraising game, and based on many of his contributions this time around, donors are doubling, sometimes tripling the amount they initially invested. He has raised a total of $143,327 -- $47,842 this cycle -- and spent $115,407 overall, with $19,698 this cycle. His largest donors are Blue Lake Rancheria ($5,000), C&K Industries, Shaw and Peterson Insurance, and Lundblade and Company ($4,500), plus a number of $3,000 contributions.

Pat Cleary has been struggling to match pace with Ryan Sundberg's fundraising and spending. He has raised a total of $90,434 -- $26,453 this cycle. He has spent a total of $95,824 -- $24,212 this cycle, and has accurred $18,799 in expenses. His largest donors are Blue Lake Rancheria ($20,000), Sedgefield Properties ($10,000), and the Humboldt County Deputy Sherriff's Organization PAC ($9,500).

District Attorney

Paul Gallegos continues to lead the pack in overall debt and loans received. He has raised a total of $97,255, taken out $36,000 in loans, spent $136,555, and accrued $51,678 in debt. This cycle he raised $21,470 and spent $25,770. His largest donors are attorney Jennifer Keller ($3,500), dentist Kerisa Elloway ($2,960), and Eureka-based GSH One Enterprises, LLC. ($2,700).

Allison Jackson is doing what she can to match the amount of money Gallegos is pumping into his campaign. She has raised a total of $85,072 -- $31,147 this cycle -- has taken out $10,000 in loans, spent a total of $112,740, and accrued $12,258 in debt. Her largest donors are the Humboldt County Deputy Sherriff's Organization PAC ($10,500), Harry Hardin, owner of Eel River Waste Disposal ($5,825), and Kenneth Quigley ($4,015).


Mari Wilson hasn't been a big spender this election, and that trend didn't change this cycle. She continues to subsidize much of her own campaign, having personally dropped $7,600 into the race while her husband, Craig Wilson, tossed in $10,000. To date, she has raised a total of $31,960 -- $8,693 this time around. She has spent $24,400 total -- $2,578 this cycle.

Johanna Rodoni has nearly raised $100,000 in a race that tends to be a shoo-in most of the time. She has raised a total of $97,311 -- $39,540 this cycle, and spent a total of $85,119 -- $29,705 this cycle. Her largest donors are Harry Hardin, owner of Eel River Waste Disposal ($4,075), David and Michelle Bushnell ($1,500), and Sequoia Gas Co. ($1,350).

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Airport Blues on JPR

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 8:00 PM

An invite from the ACV Airport Blues Facebook Group:

Jefferson Exchange Radio Interview With Dax Williamson and Bill Davidson

Thursday, October 7 · 8-9 a.m.

Eureka Airport Issues: Runway construction and equipment upgrades, coupled with the ubiquitous Humboldt County fog, hamstrung flight operations in the past months at the Arcata/Eureka Airport. When disgruntled passengers, community members, and airport advisory committee members found the monthly advisory meeting cancelled last week, the committee chair and vice-chair resigned on the spot, and the gathering resolved into a public forum of complaint. Local pilots, Dax Williamson and Bill Davidson, former committee chair and vice-chair, offer an update on the airport situation from the perspective of committee members and pilots.


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Eureka Police Officers Association Endorses Jager, Glass, Kuhnel

Posted By on Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 10:15 AM

The tryouts were held a week ago: Eureka's candidates for mayor and city council were invited to present their bona fides to the EPOA, followed by some Q and A. Today, the group's president, Patrick Bishop, announced the endorsements:

The Eureka Police Officer's Association values the commitment these candidates have given to keep public safety their top priority despite the difficult economic times the City is facing. Each of these candidates has publically endorsed Measure O which The Eureka Police Officer's Association is actively supporting. The nominees that the Eureka Police Officer's Association has chosen to endorse are Frank Jager for City Mayor, Larry Glass City Council for Ward 1 and Ron Kuhnel City Council for Ward 3.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Welcome, Market Square

Posted By on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 4:59 PM


There was a pretty impressive turnout at the dedication of Eureka's new C Street Market Square earlier this morning, and why not? The square, located down at the bay, was the first-phase roll-out of the City's biggest and most impressive new public space since the construction of the Boardwalk, which it borders. By this time next year, the square will anchor the Fisherman's Terminal complex, which will include a fresh-off-the-boat seafood market, a cafe/restaurant and a permanent building for the Old Town Carriage Company, which is recovering nicely.

Mayor Virginia Bass kicked the speechifying off with by thanking all the dignitaries in attendance, including city staff, and by giving a little historical perspective on the importance of the Eureka Waterfront throughout the city's history. Then she introduced Rep. Mike Thompson, who found federal money to fund the project.

Continuing Bass' theme, Thompson led with one of his customary quips. "I think I smelled the clam chowder from Lazio's as we came in here," he said, to appreciative chuckles from the many who remembered the iconic Eureka seafood restaurant once located not far from where everyone was standing.

But idle jollity did not stay with Thompson for long. He noted that "earmark" had become a dirty word in the national political discourse -- and yet, he emphasized, this project right here was funded through such means.

"This was an earmark our community needed," he said. "There is a stark difference between a community revitalization project like this and a bridge to nowhere."

More pics below. Sorry -- the battery on the good camera died and I was reduced to iPhone snaps. 

Market Square is home to a bevy of impressive public statues, some of which, unfortunately, look too fragile to withstand either the gale-force winds coming off the bay this morning or the vandals who will surely arrive on the scene soon.




The latter seems to be an example from the "weird animal tail" school of public statuary that is sweeping Humboldt County.

Some teabaggers made the scene to sneer at Thompson.



Though the signeage mainly taunted Thompson for refusing to debate his Republican opponent, Loren Hanks, literature handed out by the Party of Tea members on hand softened this somewhat: Thompson and Hanks, have in fact agreed to two debates later this month. The literature chided Thompson for not agreeing to four debates. The other two, which were proposed by the Hanks team, would have taken place around now.

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Tea Party Math Dispute

Posted By on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Spotted earlier today at the ribbon-cutting for Eureka's C Street Plaza, Rep. Mike Thompson presiding.


EPD Chief Garr Nielsen says, "Whaaaaaat?"


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Friday, October 1, 2010

Highly Dubious and Probably Borderline Illegal Electioneering Bullshit of the Day

Posted By on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 3:11 PM

(First in a series of 12,954.)

So when it comes time to publish its "Rotary Wheel" newsletter in the Times-Standard advertising pages, the Mad River Rotary Club apparently spotlights the good deeds of one of its members. I say "apparently," because somehow the thing has escaped my eye before today.

Well, completely coincidentally, yesterday the honor fell to one Ryan Sundberg, a member of the McKinleyville non-profit organization's board of directors. 

Click the pictures below to biggify, and stay tuned for Monday's installment! It's a doozy!

(Note to "Rotary Wheel" editors: You have a grammatical error in your second paragraph -- an increasingly common bit of illiteracy known around NCJ HQ as the "Shikuma comma.")



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A Break For Our Rural Heroes

Posted By on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Back in June 2008, Willow Creek VFD firefighter Tom Smithey phoned us up to vent some fiery frustration: The feds had made it so difficult for rural firefighters to get licensed to drive a fire truck that they feared one day their crew -- waiting on a driver -- might arrive too late to control a blaze.

In brief: New rules had made it so that, to get licensed, would-be drivers had to travel to the coast to take the driving test at the Department of Motor Vehicles office -- and they had to bring an already licensed firefighter and a fire truck with them. It was cumbersome and slowed the process of licensing drivers. See Fire, No Driver.

Well, a couple of anxious years later -- feet tap-tappin' in the idling truck while some corner of a rural burg burns -- there appears to be a solution: a co-party bill crafted by Ass. Wes Chesbro (D-North Coast) and Ass.Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) and signed by the Governor this Wednesday. According to the news release from Chesbro's office:

AB 1648 allows firefighters who already possess a Class C license to earn a "Firefighter Endorsement" that authorizes them to drive fire equipment after completing 30 hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel training under supervision of a qualified fire chief.

"To complete the process, firefighters will still have to submit to the DMV their health questionnaires and written documentation from the fire chiefs who trained them and pass a written test," Chesbro said. "But it eliminates the requirement of having an already licensed firefighter also travel to a distant DMV office. It put too many rural communities at risk to have personnel and equipment taken out of service for an entire day, especially during fire season."

The new law goes into effect Jan. 1.

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